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Archive for September, 2011

A few weeks ago, I temporarily moved a mile down the street to dog-sit Molly, while my son and his family went on vacation.

I’m on a retreat, I realized, when I sat out on their back deck under the towering oak trees. I was surrounded by my daughter-in-law, Wendy’s vegetable plants…green peppers, tomatoes and herbs.  All thriving. Does she use Miracle Grow or is this the result of her natural green thumb?

I looked out over their back yard, to see a doe and two fawns feasting on the grass. The fawns seemed unstressed by the fierce barking of a neighbor dog and unafraid at my presence.

They were with their protector. She hovered a few yards away, keeping a steady eye on her children.

Like God does with us…the brokenhearted.*

At the end of the week, Molly was reunited with her family and I returned home. Refreshed.

Do you feel God’s presence with you in your loss?  In what way?

*Psalm 34:18. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”

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Grief Brings Regrets

Minutes before my husband died, I walked out of our bedroom. This, after promising him I’d remain at his side.

As Bill neared the end, I felt the near-absent pulse of this paralyzed and unresponsive man. The hospice nurse had told me his hearing would be the last to go. Just in case this was true, I quoted smatterings of scripture he and I had talked about during previous weeks, as he faced his death.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”*

“Let not your heart be troubled… I go and prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you to be with me…”** 

I hadn’t dared take my eyes off Bill’s face to look them up.

And yet, that’s when I left the room. I tended to the mindless task of sorting a stack of Uno cards into neat piles, while my daughter, Dianne sat silent beside her dad.

“I think he’s gone, mom,” she whispered from the hallway a few minutes later.

I wasn’t there.

How could I leave? Break my promise to him? Betray him at the last second?

My last act became my deepest and most agonizing regret during my first year as a widow.

A few weeks ago, Dianne did some reframing as we reminisced about this. “If dad could still hear you near the end, your voice reminding him of Heaven was the last thing he heard. So you were there.

How come it’s taken me nine years after the fact, to see this?

What is your deepest regret in the loss of your loved one?

*Psalm 23:4 & 6.        

**John 14:1-4

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